The Salem witch trials are given a digital overhaul in this ferocious femme exploitationer.
Dir-Scr Sam Levinson
Prod David S Goyer, Kevin Turen, Anita Gou, Matthew J Malek, Manu Gargi, Aaron L Gilbert
With Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne
UK Distribution Universal Pictures
Assassination Nation opens with cinema’s most audacious trigger warning. As a montage of lurid images unfolds on screen, viewers are advised that the subsequent film contains, among other things: sexual content, toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia, guns, racism, the male gaze, sexism, torture and fragile male egos. However, this seemingly endless list of misdemeanours is certainly no last-minute apology. It is a celebration. And now that everyone is primed for exactly what’s in store, director Sam Levinson can truly let rip. Salem High School senior Lily and her gal pals exist in a supposedly safe social-media bubble, documenting and sharing their aspirational lives with fastidious dedication. But there are some secrets that even these young exhibitionists wouldn’t want to reveal. When a targeted data hack exposes the private lives of the town’s residents, mob mentality prevails and Salem quickly descends into a breeding ground of mayhem and murder, with Lily and her gang smack bang in the centre. A worthy successor to the rebellious spirit of subversive teen classics such as Heathers, The Doom Generation and, more recently, Spring Breakers, Levinson’s sensory assault is a bitingly prescient rally cry for the #MeToo era, boasting some refreshingly progressive gender politics and an anarchic social conscience. It’s an absolute riot, in every sense of the word.
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